So a good game sells a lot of copies? Get out of here!

100m+ copies of Minecraft have been sold, and today the game sells 53k+ copies A DAY.

Who the hell is still buying Minecraft?

And I don’t mean that in a “Minecraft sucks!” way, because it’s a great game/tool, but in a “how do you not already own Minecraft?” way. The game is huge amount young children, especially on mobile, but are there really 53k+ young gamers maturing daily to finally buy and play some Minecraft? Seems unlikely…

The bigger point here though, as it relates to MMOs, is that this is a very important date point related to the “Everyone who wanted to play WoW already has it” talking point and how it relates to the failures of the game from WotLK and beyond. Minecraft has a much larger user base than WoW, yet it’s still attracting a horde of new players daily, so why do some people think WoW is a special snowflake and had/has tapped out the market?

Spoiler: It never did, it just got progressively worse as a game, to the point that it stopped growing and then started to shrink. If tomorrow Microsoft released an update like WotLK to Minecraft, and then followed it up with a Cata-style release, Minecraft wouldn’t be moving 53k+ copies a day, and it wouldn’t be because finally everyone that wanted Minecraft got it.

The same applies to any game. If LoL gets significantly worse tomorrow, it will stop growing. If CCP improves EVE significantly, that game will return to growth. In an age of digital marketplaces and the ability to upgrade a game as time goes on, the biggest factor in a games growth or decline is simply the quality of the product. And not just the quality at release or at time X, but the sustained quality of the product itself and its pace/quality of updates.

We also see plenty of this in Early Access games. Take a game like Darkest Dungeon for instance. At the start of its EA, it was a solid offering, though somewhat limited. As it developed, it got consistently better and better, without any major missteps. The result? A successful EA game that was also very successful once released.

We are a long time past the age of 95% of your sales happening in the first month, and then your box being moved off a store shelf and that being that for your game. Good games can get worse (WoW), rough starts can be fixed/salvaged (FFXIV), and sustained quality can result in sustained success (EVE).

Game a good game, support it well, and you profit. What a crazy world we live in!

Side notes because they are somewhat related to the topic:

The hotbar salesman has managed to pork Dungeon Boss. I knew it was only a matter of time before the idiocy of selling hotbars in an MMO translated to something equally dumb in the mobile space, and here it is. (Yes, I know there is like a 2% chance this change wasn’t the idea of the hotbar salesman, but shhh you)

Also it looks like Darkfall: Unholy War is offline? Such a DF move to just suddenly go offline and instead of outright admitting the party is over (or you know, announcing a shut-down date well in advance), the dev still puts out some ‘hope it comes back soon’ message. DF being DF even past the bitter end. God how far that whole thing fell from being a gem in the MMO space to a trainwreck.







About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in EVE Online, Final Fantasy XIV, Kickstarter, League of Legends, MMO design, Random, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to So a good game sells a lot of copies? Get out of here!

  1. mmojuggler says:

    >WoW, yet it’s still attracting a horde

    I see what you did there.

    >Darkfall: Unholy War is offline?

    They posted and blamed it on the Greek economy –

  2. Pasduil says:

    > are there really 53k+ young gamers maturing daily

    According to my back-of-envelope calcs, every day prob around 65k children in developed countries have their 10th birthday. (Or whatever other birthday you cared to pick.)

    It’s big ole world out there,

  3. Azuriel says:

    Depending on what you peg the current population at and what churn levels you want to assume, WoW is still selling ~16k copies A DAY. After more than a year with zero content in arguably the worst expansion yet. Which is less than Minecraft, sure, but one is a Lego sandbox and the other is a themepark MMO with a subscription. And, you know, one has the overwhelmingly vast majority of its sales on phones (!?) and consoles, whereas the other requires a PC.

    In fact, based on the infographic, the PC market for Minecraft is on average just shy of 23% of the total. Which is… oh, hey, ~12k copies a day.

    In any case, I’m not sure how EVE is an example of “sustained success” anymore. CCP stopped reporting subscription numbers almost three years ago, and there were stories about concurrency rates dropping to 2008 levels just last year. In fact, here is a graph. If you meant “sustained” as in “keeping the lights on,” well, there’s a whole lot of successful MMOs out there right now.

    • SynCaine says:

      Churn in WoW at this point isn’t 100% replacements by new players buying the game, so the math there doesn’t work. Plus if WoW was on mobile or consoles, it’s not like that wouldn’t effect a single PC sale, right? Especially considering how easy Minecraft is to mess around with, no doubt some people pick console/mobile who would otherwise go PC without the option.

      As for EVE, you can see exactly how many players are online at all times, and that number has been on the up since the start of World War Bee (and was already climbing slowly up prior to that). Plus the rough guess is the sub numbers are somewhere around 300k, which for an MMO released in 2003, puts it in very rare air among all MMOs (to say nothing about what EVE is going to look like in 2020 compared to WoW and others.)

  4. Esteban says:

    The secret lies undoubtedly in Minecraft’s high accessibility barrier. It’s designed to retain only the most hardcore ten-year-olds and as a result virtually all of them are content creators.

  5. Exit815 says:

    That’s a roundabout way to say: “If something is less popular, then it’s worse”.

    • Caldazar says:

      I don’t think that is it at all, since by that metric he’d be saying wow is better than eve, and that certainly isn’t what he is saying.

      I think it is just: Wow sucks, minecraft doesn’t

    • trego says:

      No it isn’t. Did you even read the article?

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